[Alpha 7.9] Monetization

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GFX47
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[Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#1 » 22 Feb 2017, 02:13

TL;DR

Starting from Alpha 7.9, the game will enter its "Early Access" phase.

It means it is still in development but you can buy it at a discounted price (-50%) if you accept its evolving form and want to support its development.

Here are the details per platform:
- on desktop (PC/Mac/Linux): it will become a ~5$ game
- on mobile (Android): it will adopt a "free to try" model = free demo with limited features + full game unlock via a ~2.5$ in-app purchase ("IAP") (the exact price depends on your local country taxes)


Le Why

I'm 37 y/o, married and father of a 5 y/o daughter. Like everyone else, I need to take care of my family even if my wife is currently working. We live in Paris (France) where life isn't cheap at all.

Gladiabots is a project I've had in mind for 4 years. I've been working on it on my spare time for quite some time until 4 months ago when I decided to quit my comfortable job and work full-time on it until release.
At the same time, I enabled donations on the main website (hosted on itch.io) to see if players were willing to support its development. 311 people donated a little bit more than 1755$ since then (before itch.io and paypal fees).
Which is great! It's honestly more than what I expected for a donation system and I'm deeply grateful to those 311 people, whatever the amount they donated.

But obviously, it won't be enough until the release of the game. You guys know how much is left to do and there's a lot of game related expenses I have to cover (events, intellectual property, lawyer, accountant, bank, ...).

I've tried to push back as far as possible the idea of making players pay for the game for several reasons:
- it's still in development and I'm not satisfied at all with its current state (but I guess I'll never be)
- players feedback is crucial for the iterative development method I'm using
- deciding on a business model is one of the most difficult task I have on this project (one of those things that make you unable to sleep)

In case you missed it, Gladiabots has been in the top 10 of the Google Play Indie Games Contest, winning several prizes including a featuring on the store in several big countries (in term of potential audience).
This featuring started right after the event and the impact on the active players stats is quite impressive:

Image
(ignore the first dates, the drop is linked to the database migration)

If it stays that way, by tomorrow night, the game will reach 400 000 players (not all active today of course) since it's been public 9 months ago!

This is the kind of opportunity that you don't get everyday and it will actually only last for one week.
That's why I think it may be a good time to start testing monetization and generating revenue.

Le How

On mobile (Android for now):
As you may know, I'm really not a big fan of the "freemium" model (free game with in-app purchases and/or ads on every corner, in-game currency, energy system, ...) and I'm part of this crazy minority that thinks good games deserve some money.
I also think you need to have a real gem in your hands to go "premium" (paid games) and that Gladiabots is not even close to it (yet!).

So the idea is to keep the Android app free on the store and make it a demo of the game that you can "unlock" thanks to a one-time in-app purchase.
The demo limits would be:
- only the 5 first practice missions can be played
- only 10 multiplayer matches can be played
The unlocked game obviously has no limits.

On desktop (PC, Mac, Linux):
Paid games are still common on desktop (let's hope it stays that way...), so I'll go for it via itch.io.

Le How Much

Here are the prices I have in mind when the game will get released:
- on desktop: ~10$
- on mobile: ~5$

As the game is still in development "early access", I want to apply a 50% discount, so:
- on desktop: ~5$
- on mobile: ~2.5$

On mobile, the price may vary depending on your country and the applied taxes.
I know a 2.5€ store price will be 3€ local price in France for instance.

Le Who

On mobile:
Only the new players (or re-installs) will see the demo.

On desktop:
If you already downloaded the game on itch.io, you should be able to update without additional payment by using the same account.
It as to be confirmed if this applies to the 0$ downloads though.

In both cases, if you donated in the past and have a problem with the website or the game asking you for money, please send me an email at gladiabots[at]gfx47[dot]com from the email account you used to donate.

Le When

I've been working on Alpha 7.9 since yesterday and it is now ready.
I'm planning a deployment by tomorrow (February 23rd).


I'm both eager and anxious to read your feedback, but I need it anyway.
Your turn!

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Chunkymonkey
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#2 » 22 Feb 2017, 02:25

Sounds very reasonable.

Well done and good luck.

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Chunkymonkey
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#3 » 22 Feb 2017, 02:27

What about those of us who have linked accounts on multiple devices? Will we have to pay for multiple unlocks on phone, tablet?

What about linked with desktop?

harthag
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#4 » 22 Feb 2017, 02:55

Excellent game! And an even better opportunity! Make the most of it! Good luck to you!

sethcohn
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#5 » 22 Feb 2017, 03:59

Totally worth the price. Good for you.

Botique
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#6 » 22 Feb 2017, 07:00

You will get my 5 coins for sure. But think about monetization throw sponsorship of customized bot ads. Like putting CocaCols logo on assault bot. As well as monetization by organising tournaments. There you would need some mechanism to make sure NullPointer does not win always

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Kanishka
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#7 » 22 Feb 2017, 07:18

I am not against Premium Model. Many people think that Premium games are the best, so that might actually be a good move. Secondly, I'm also part of the crazy minority that thinks good games require good money to stay good, and to stay in development. Best of luck for tomorrow. Bonne chance!
Fixes break an AI more than bugs do. :ugeek:

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NullPointer
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#8 » 22 Feb 2017, 07:21

Awesome!

10 pvp games in the demo sounds good, but I'm wondering if a bit more would help getting users hooked. We play hundreds or thousands of games each, so I think that with 20 games (2 batches of the max pending games) someone may play the multiplayer twice in 2 different times and be more likely to pay.
But it's just a guess, you may have more data about retention.

You're doing a great job, this game has a big future, best of luck.

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Kanishka
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#9 » 22 Feb 2017, 07:27

Cheers to all of us!
Fixes break an AI more than bugs do. :ugeek:

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pier4r
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#10 » 22 Feb 2017, 10:40

Excellent! But I'm concerned on the sustainability.

As you said, great games (and gladiabots is definitely great) deserve to be paid. This is a topic that can cover 200mb of text, so instead of discussing it, I agree. The point is that in the past and even today games are developed, launched, get the money and that's it. (see Spacechem for example).

Games that are continuously developed cannot sustain this model, I believe, unless the paywall is reasonably high. But high paywall means low adoption and low exposure. Because once you peak the user base that is interested, then that's it, the gain is not a lot. (should I link the infographics of monument valley? I do it: http://blog.monumentvalleygame.com/blog ... in-numbers . Another point is that who has android is cheaper than who has iOS, for obvious reasons)

I believe, therefore, that one of the n-th smart ideas that several games have developed to gain continuous income has to be applied. I'm not a fan of monthly subscription or "pay for time", but I'm surely a fan of "pay to play", so I drop here again the idea of "pay for X multiplayer matches" (either you use them or not) where X should not be small, but neither big, so can be applied several times.

Or maybe cosmetic stuff like bot colors, skins and so on. Well for sure I conveyed the main point. An one time payment is hard to sustain a long roadmap.

Another possibility are entry fees for some tournaments, with awards at the end (like having special recognition pages if one performs well in the tournament).

And of course I will buy the game (i already donated btw), how can I buy it without reinstall?
http://www.reddit.com/r/Gladiabots/wiki/players/pier4r_nvidia_shield_k1 -> Gladiabots CHAT, stats, insights and more ;

ConsciouS-0nE
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#11 » 22 Feb 2017, 11:07

Did someone called for simplemath?
Heres what gfx wants to do,

The game all around recorded sales with donation only,
1700$/300person

Heres what the small premium would do
    5$
    Desktop Le big goal
  • 50000$/10000 people
      Le what can be achieved fast
    • 25000$/5000 people
    • 12500$/2500 people
    • 5000$/1000 people
    • 2500$/500 people
    • 1250$/250 people
    • 500$/100 people
    2.5$
    Mobile Le big goal
  • 25000$/10000 people
      Le what can be achieved
    • 12500$/5000 people
    • 6250$/2500 people
    • 2500$/1000 people
    • 1250$/500 people
    • 625$/250 people
    • 250/100 people


IF Guaranteed that numbers from the "free promotion" of the indie game prize for X days, that would be a really great help.really really great.
///////////////////////

For long term sales, id presume gfx is planning for that 'soon' but not now that the game is promoted for free and he can do a 'small change for big help', as said it was limited.


////////
After that prem release,
Id advertise again on my own ways, that way id contribute atleast a little from my influence,
(some students, some more adults that would get intrested)
Im not the best player, but atleast im something.I'm 8
Science is madness! 3:)

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Kanishka
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#12 » 22 Feb 2017, 12:12

I sorta agree with pier and ConsciouS-OnE...
Fixes break an AI more than bugs do. :ugeek:

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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#13 » 22 Feb 2017, 14:49

Thank you all for your support, it's deeply appreciated :)

Chunkymonkey wrote:What about those of us who have linked accounts on multiple devices? Will we have to pay for multiple unlocks on phone, tablet?

What about linked with desktop?


From 7.9 on, new players will have to pay only once for all desktop platforms (PC, Mac, Linux) on the itch.io website and once for any number of synced Android devices via the premium IAP.

Here's why:
The premium "flag" is set on the player account when he purchases premium access on mobile.
Every player account created before 7.9 will automatically have this flag.
Besides, when you have several devices linked to the same account, they will all check the flag of this account.

Botique wrote:You will get my 5 coins for sure. But think about monetization throw sponsorship of customized bot ads. Like putting CocaCols logo on assault bot.


This kind of ads require specific contracts with the brands. The game would have to be a huge success to interest any of them.

Botique wrote:As well as monetization by organising tournaments. There you would need some mechanism to make sure NullPointer does not win always

pier4r wrote:Another possibility are entry fees for some tournaments, with awards at the end (like having special recognition pages if one performs well in the tournament).


Paid tournaments is a good idea in terms of monetization opportunity but I'm not sure about how players would perceive it.

NullPointer wrote:Awesome!

10 pvp games in the demo sounds good, but I'm wondering if a bit more would help getting users hooked. We play hundreds or thousands of games each, so I think that with 20 games (2 batches of the max pending games) someone may play the multiplayer twice in 2 different times and be more likely to pay.
But it's just a guess, you may have more data about retention.

You're doing a great job, this game has a big future, best of luck.


I'll actually A/B test it.
Same for the solo mission count.

pier4r wrote:Excellent! But I'm concerned on the sustainability.

As you said, great games (and gladiabots is definitely great) deserve to be paid. This is a topic that can cover 200mb of text, so instead of discussing it, I agree. The point is that in the past and even today games are developed, launched, get the money and that's it. (see Spacechem for example).

Games that are continuously developed cannot sustain this model, I believe, unless the paywall is reasonably high. But high paywall means low adoption and low exposure. Because once you peak the user base that is interested, then that's it, the gain is not a lot. (should I link the infographics of monument valley? I do it: http://blog.monumentvalleygame.com/blog ... in-numbers . Another point is that who has android is cheaper than who has iOS, for obvious reasons)

I believe, therefore, that one of the n-th smart ideas that several games have developed to gain continuous income has to be applied. I'm not a fan of monthly subscription or "pay for time", but I'm surely a fan of "pay to play", so I drop here again the idea of "pay for X multiplayer matches" (either you use them or not) where X should not be small, but neither big, so can be applied several times.


That's another interesting system but I fear players would drop the game because of the next batch cost even if they enjoy the game.
But this has to be tested!

This free demo/full game via IAP is "just" a first iteration.
I want to try different things along the way and see how players react to it.
It could be the next iteration:
- free demo
- 100 matches for 0.5$, 300 for 1$, ...
- unlimited matches for 2.5$

pier4r wrote:Or maybe cosmetic stuff like bot colors, skins and so on.


That's one of the ideas I also want to try.
But later on the road because it requires a lot of time to make new designs (modeling, animation, sounds). I prefer investing this on the game itself for now.
I see it as something I could do post launch.

pier4r wrote:And of course I will buy the game (i already donated btw), how can I buy it without reinstall?


You can still donate on itch.io ;)

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Kanishka
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#14 » 22 Feb 2017, 17:09

WE ARE LIVE!!!
Fixes break an AI more than bugs do. :ugeek:

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PPS
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#15 » 22 Feb 2017, 17:15

Посмотрим сколько останется "активных игроков"...

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Kanishka
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#16 » 22 Feb 2017, 17:36

Существующие игроки не должны иметь никаких проблем. Количество новых игроков могут быть затронуты.
Fixes break an AI more than bugs do. :ugeek:

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pier4r
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#17 » 22 Feb 2017, 17:56

Wut?

Anyway if I Uninstall it on an android device that is not my main account, I install it again and it pay, then it's done? Because otherwise I will have too make a bank transfer to PayPal an I'm lazy
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GFX47
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#18 » 22 Feb 2017, 17:58

Image

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GFX47
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#19 » 22 Feb 2017, 17:59

pier4r wrote:Wut?

Anyway if I Uninstall it on an android device that is not my main account, I install it again and it pay, then it's done? Because otherwise I will have too make a bank transfer to PayPal an I'm lazy


It should work.

Botique
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Re: [Alpha 7.9] Monetization

Post#20 » 22 Feb 2017, 18:53

Probably I am st00pid.

How do I get the game... I am using it on PC.
So currently when I start game, it tells that it is not more supported and I need to upgrade. So ok.

Going to site, and there is BUY gladiabots link instead of old one download. Okay, pressing there... and I have to pay.

No problem, but will it be ok... as I don't remember creating any accounts on itch.io, I think my "Bituque" was just naming of me in the game (even don't remember how I started).

Coz I didn't payed before and didn't donated, so I have to add some 5$ on top of course, so willing to pay 9.99$

Should I just unzip content over current game?
p.s. for extra 5$ will you send me regulary NullPointer AI setup... he does not need to know :twisted:

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